LEAMINGTON’S Tom Sykes admitted he lost a battle of inches at World Superbike round six in America but has vowed not to beat himself up about it – taking into account his overall standing.
The 26-year-old recorded his worst finish of the season at Miller Motorsports Park but when you take into account his start to 2012 the consequences are by no means disastrous.
Heading to Utah with a lowest effort of sixth and six podiums finishes – eclipsing anything he has achieved in his three years previous in the world paddock – Sykes placed eighth then fifth.
He qualified third but struggled with his set up in race one while in race two, red flagged and restarted after a large oil spill following Hiroshi Aoyama’s crash, Sykes had to battle for his finish.
The Kawasaki Racing rider led at one stage in both races and, still sitting second in the overall standings with 142.5 points, Sykes tried not to be too critical of his performances.
“You cannot give anything away to these boys but unfortunately this weekend it looks like we did for a while,” said Sykes – who earned 19 points for his efforts in America.
“But we cannot get carried away with any thoughts like that because we are still second equal on points in the championship despite having a disappointing weekend by recent standards.
“We were much better in race two. We made a bit of a change in set-up, three changes really, and I was able to be a bit more competitive.
“In the early laps I got behind Marco Melandri and felt really good but unfortunately Chaz Davies came past and really upset my rhythm.
“It made it difficult for me to do what I needed to do, so my pace slowed. I just missed that slipstream from Melandri.
“And in race one I was missing some front traction so I was not able to get the bike into the corners very well and obviously that affected my mid-corner and exit speed.”
Reigning champion Carlos Checa took victory in race one, his first since round two at Imola, while Marco Melandri won the restarted second race following Aoyama’s crash.
However it is Max Biaggi, third twice in America, who leads the standings with 160.5 points and Sykes admitted he won’t be lacking motivation at round seven in Misano on June 10.
“We have got some better tracks coming up and I am looking forward to getting there. It is just hard for me to sit in my chair and debrief when some of the others are on the podium spraying champagne,” he added.
“I have got the taste for it now. On balance the guys in our team have done a great job again at this difficult track and in race two we were able to make changes that worked out quite well.”
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